I am trying to calm myself down as I write this, because my visit to this place yesterday was just so mindblowingly exciting and wonderful that I fear I might lose objectivity writing about it. Oh well, I guess it's too late: I am a Baked & Wired addict already... After just one taste of their imaginative cupcake creations, their friendly service, and their cosy interior, I want to return rather sooner than later!
Let me start by saying that my friend and I had read about Baked & Wired on facebook and yelp!, where people are talking about it as if it were the Mecca for lovers of all things sweet. OUR Mecca!
Its location in Georgetown comes with big competition, considering that Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles, as well as a number of other bakeries, are in walking distance. But what sets it apart, and we can testify to this now, is its ambiance and clientele. While the other major cupcake shops present themselves in bright white and pink colors (very feminine) and a little bit upscale and fancy pants-y, Baked & Wired comes across as very down-to-earth. It has a creative vibe going on, with one entire wall covered in napkins that customers scribbled quotes and cartoons on, all bakery items presented in bell jars with colorful labels drawn by hand, and a separate area dedicated to their coffees and teas alone. The baristas are professionals at latte art and serve Intelligentsia coffee, which tells you a lot about their emphasis on high-quality products.
There was a huge line in front of the store, which is usually rather off-putting for me, but employees walked out with samples of delicious zucchini/pineapple/walnut bread (surprising combination, but it works!) to feed their hungry waiting customers, and cupcake menus were also distributed in advance. While this made the whole process more efficient for them, it also decreased the waiting time for us customers and created a bit of excitement. Once we set foot into the store we knew exactly what we wanted, received our cupcake boxes within a few seconds after placing the order, and had enough time to marvel at the incredible treats presented on the counter before reaching the cash register. Now, I don't know if the place is this busy during the week (we went on a Saturday afternoon), but I was impressed by how well organized everything and everyone was.
Alright, so I was extremely lucky to have my friend with me who is just as crazy about desserts as I am. We ordered two cupcakes each and here is our selection, from left to right on the picture: The Elvis Impersonator (banana cake topped with peanut butter frosting), Cherry Blossom (maraschino cherry cake and frosting), German Chocolate (light chocolate cake with a coconut pecan frosting) and Dirty Chai (vanilla cake blended with chai spices and espresso buttercream frosting).
We made a bit of a celebration of opening the boxes and carefully tasting each one of these, sharing our impressions. The definite winner was the Elvis Impersonator, which was also the only one we finished right on the spot. The combination of banana and peanut butter flavors was delicious, and the frosting had just the right intensity. Compared to the peanut butter and jelly cupcake at Crumbs, I preferred this one because the peanut butter flavor was stronger yet not overpowering. It tasted light and creamy.
The second favorite was the German Chocolate cupcake, which struck the perfect balance between the rich chocolate flavor, big chunks of pecan nuts, and a fluffy pecan frosting with coconut shavings. It might have been a bit heavy, but that's what you'd expect from German chocolate. It definitely made a German girl proud!
Between the Cherry Blossom and Dirty Chai cupcakes, we couldn't quite decide which one we liked more or less. We would not re-order any of the two, because in both cases the frosting and cake tasted exactly the same, making them a bit ... boring. Don't get me wrong, they tasted good! They would go very well together with a coffee or tea, especially the Dirty Chai, but the other two don't need anything to compliment or enhance them... If that makes any sense. They can - and should - be eaten on their own.
The Cherry Blossom is a seasonal flavor, which is why we ordered it, but we doubt it would be very successful all year round due to its slightly artificial color and very sweet taste. If you like Chai tea, you will like and immediately recognize its taste in the Dirty Chai cupcake; but that is all there is to it... better order it in liquid form and try one of their other bakery items!
I crown Baked & Wired my favorite bake shop - EVER! Not only in DC but internationally. This means a lot coming from me, and I cannot stress enough how much the ambiance contributes to this verdict. Moreover, they make a point of baking in small amounts, focusing on quality rather than production. A definite winner... so far...?!
Brownie Points for the Elvis Impersonator: 3 out of 3
Brownie Points for the Cherry Blossom: 1 out of 3
Brownie Points for the German Chocolate: 3 out of 3
Brownie Points for the Dirty Chai: 1 out of 3